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Tea Party Favorite Rand Paul Speaks His Mind

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Tea Party favorite Rand Paul may be in a quandary as to the subject of the rights and freedoms of the individual American citizen. Rand, freshman senator from Kentucky, rose  recently to defend the people during a discussion of the invasive measures of the now newly extended Patriot Act, that act established by G. W. Bush following the attacks of September 11, 2001, to provide for wiretapping and similar measures, in pursuit of terrorists. Rand Paul asked a rhetorical question: “What rights have Americans sacrificed in the name of counterterrorism?”  Bully for Rand.

In another terrorism-related instance, Paul was outspoken, and many would agree. Kentucky Public Radio documents that in Bowling Green, Kentucky, two gentlemen of apparently Islamic or Arabic background were arrested on charges involving terrorism. Rand Paul pointed out: “At least one of them had been in prison in Iraq and had been fighting with the insurgents and had been accused and put in prison for planning IEDs at the time. What I want to know is, how the heck did he get into our country, then?”

But the junior senator from Kentucky is not always so in sync with the masses. According to The Huffington Post, which makes reference to a report from  Alex Seitz-Wald, a writer for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Rand Paul made some extreme statements in an interview with Sean Hannity. According to Seitz-Wald, Paul made this statement to Hannity on Friday, May 27, this year:

I’m not for profiling people on the color of their skin, or on their religion, but I would take into account where they’ve been traveling and perhaps you might have to indirectly take into account whether or not they’ve been going to radical political speeches by religious leaders. It wouldn’t be that they are Islamic. But if someone is attending speeches from someone who is promoting the violent overthrow of our government, that’s really an offense that we should be going after — they should be deported or put in prison.

If the attributed words were spoken, then Rand Paul seems to have an interest in sympathizing and identifying with the old cultures in faraway places like North Africa and the Middle East. He seems to be moving in the very direction that  the students of the world  now protest; suppression of various freedoms, in this case freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion! If Paul made that statement, then he believes that people In the United States should be arrested for speaking out on important matters, on their beliefs, or even for listening as others speak out. Had senators in earlier times made such statements, they would have been called irresponsible at the least, dangerous in the more extreme.

Paul is a favorite of the Tea Party set. He has strong opinions and he speaks his mind. But in some cases, his extremism may be a mixed blessing.

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About John Lake

John Lake had a long and successful career in legitimate and musical theater. He moved up into work behind the camera at top motion pictures. He has done a smattering of radio, and television John joined the Blogcritics field of writers owing to a passion for the liberal press, himself speaking out about the political front, and liberal issues. Now the retired Mr. Lake has entered the field of motion picture, television, and video game (now a daily gamer!) critique. His writing is always innovative and immensely readable!
  • C. Wendt

    Evidently, as with those at many media outlets, including the HuffingtonPost, you did not look for Rand Paul’s clarification before you wrote this. He said in an interview on the Mandy Connell Show that he does NOT want to lock people up solely for attending objectionable speeches, but rather that he thinks it could be taken into account in obtaining warrants against them (in fact, note that he had said their speech attendance should only be “indirectly taken into account” a couple sentences before the controversial line in that very interview) and that the end result could be imprisonment or deportation (since he was, in context, talking about people in the United States on visas). In the offending sentence of the Hannity interview, he was speaking off-the-cuff and wound up garbling his statement to an extent. Here are some of the clarifications he made on the Connell Show:

    “What I don’t want is the PATRIOT Act trolling through everyone’s records and saying if you go to a political speech or a political rally I disagree with, we’re going to throw you out of the country….

    Let’s say that the police or the FBI or the CIA is investigating a group in Pakistan, and that group in Pakistan has made 25 phone calls to somebody in the United States. That to me is a warning sign, and probably enough to get a warrant. Say they also find that person is going to a radical Islamicist who is promoting the violent overthrow [of the U.S. government] and promoting the planting of IEDs to kill our soldiers. I think that is another warning sign that that person is a potential terrorist. Then I think you go to a judge and ask for a warrant.

    The ultimate result could be deportation. We also have a lower standard for deportation than we do for…U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens cannot be kicked out of the country. But if you’re visiting…here on a student visa, you have to report periodically to the authorities where you are, that you’re in school; you can be deported if you’re not in school when you said you were in school….Sixteen of the 19 hijackers were here on a student visa; they should have been deported because they were not following the rules….

    All I’m saying is that attending a rally where you call for the violent overthrow of the United States—one, it’s against the law to say that, but attending the rally would be supportive evidence for a judge.”

    As Rand Paul has more than proven himself the strongest defender of civil liberties in the United States Senate, it is quite galling to see the eagerness of certain elements in the media to jump all over him by taking the most uncharitable interpretation of a single objectionable-sounding off-the-cuff sentence and spreading it far and wide before so much as soliciting or listening to any further explanation on his part.

  • John Lake

    Evidence in America has got to be viable and objective. Circumstantial evidence, even “25 phone calls”, may be a tip off, but it must be supported by something more. I do appreciate that you call to our attention that Paul said a few words in mitigation.

  • Danny Boye

    You guys (the media, using it loosely in your case) are either too cynical (good) or shills for the PTB (not surprising, given the level of corruption and money-love).

    Get real about the Pauls. They are the only friends in DC this country has. Believe it or not.

    You owe it to readers and the country at-large to point out that the media should not be trusted. Either do that, or good luck getting away from the nightmares. Because our eventual reality of heck in the USA will have been enabled by the media dropping the ball, lying, spinning, and basically doing a poor job — not enabled by the Pauls or anyone else who might come along and attempt to purge the pollution we call DC and The Media

  • DanBeaulieu

    Whether you support Rands position or not. (And obviously you know nothing about him) What he did that day was as american and patriotic as it gets.

    Is about protecting us from the real threat, the treat of tyranny and martial law.

    Mark my words one day this will all come to a front and you’ll have to decide what side your on. The establishments or the Peoples.

    The pauls are on the peoples.

  • http://mekancatherine.blogspot.com/ Catherine

    I’m not generally a fan of Rand or his father, but on this issue I wish more people had the guts to speak up. The Patriot Act is a horrible intrusion into Americans privacy and compromises our freedom of speech. Living in Egypt, I’ve seen daily what happens when the state has too much power to monitor every conversation a person has.

    However, I think the problem lies much less with the media than with the audience. Perhaps I’ll get attacked for this, but look at a network like CNN which is much better than MSNBC or Fox in it’s objective perspective – it has the worst ratings. Much of the media has become far to sensationalist partially because all media outlets have been hurting for money and are out to attract viewer/readership. This is a shame.

  • Clavos

    Catherine #5,

    Excellent points!

    I deplore the invasions permitted by the Patriot Act.

    As to the media: they (most of them) cater to the lowest common denominator because that’s what sells, and in the final analysis, they are businesses, not public service entities.

    Unfortunately, our only public outlets, NPR and its TV counterpart, are quite as one-sided as MSNBC and FOX. The public station programming is aimed at, and only appeals to, a relatively restricted audience, the self-styled intellectual elite; it’s a rare bricklayer or auto mechanic who listens to NPR or public TV.